When we had the house built in 2002, we put a lot of thought into which trees to have planted. Our old house had a Bradford pear and cypress in the front yard. For the new house we wanted hardy, long-lasting Texas natives.
This time every year, we'd stand together in the front yard so that Steve could stare at the bur oak and the red oak on either side of our sidewalk. He'd look them up and down, walk around each one. And he'd say, "Tyra, this will be the year for our trees."
I would laugh with him and tell him that he says that every year. He would retort that this time he really feels it. This time he just knows the branches are going to take off and reach higher into the sky.
We'd talk about how much they'd grown since we first moved in and how many more years we'd stand together and stare at our trees.
As I've watched the limbs change from bare to barely budding this year, I think of Steve. I hear him say, "Tyra, this will be the year for our trees." And I so wish that I could reach out and hold his hand and tell him that he always says that and that he'd laugh along with me.
Steve and one of his trees on his 40th birthday, November 2008